Bauxite: Filda replants oil palms and defends the fate of 402 settlers

KUANTAN – The plight of 402 Bukit Goh Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) settlers who lost their income due to bauxite mining has returned to the spotlight when Felda is ready to replant or implement other alternatives that can bring revenue to settlers.

According to a statement from Felda’s Strategic Communications Division, he is open to alternative proposals that could be explored if palm replanting proves not worth implementing on the basis of the very high cost of restoration.

But he said that any proposal needs scrutiny and in-depth study in order for the settlers to get the optimum return.

Related News: Bauxite: The Dilemma of 402 Settlers from Velda Bukit Goh

“If this group of settlers intends to replant, then Velda needs to study and reassess the cost of replanting and needs to obtain the consent of the settlers, especially with regard to the cost of restoring the land.

“The restoration process has to be implemented because the top layer of soil has been mined and needs to be replaced with nutrient-rich soil that involves high costs and is expected to take longer. It should be implemented based on the current situation,” he said in a statement here yesterday.

Recently Kosmo! It reported that 402 settlers in Velda Bukit Goh are now living in poverty since bauxite production activities ceased six years ago.

Subsequently a member of the Sungai Lembing State Assembly, Datuk Md. Sohimi Muhammad Shah said the state government takes the plight of settlers very seriously.

As a result, Geoffrey Salem, President of the Second Generation Ideas Organization in Kuantan, said developing the largest solar valley in Southeast Asia is one solution as it is able to provide an income of a minimum of RM3,000 per month in the initial phase for each settler.

Related news: Bauxite: Filda Don’t Be Silent, Help 402 Settlers

While commenting on the case, the statement said, it started in 2014 after a group of Bukit Goh settlers signed an agreement with a certain party for the purpose of mining bauxite on their farm.

However, he said, the agreement without Velda’s participation was halted at the direction of the government.

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